Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Absolutely brilliant

One of the great challenges in life is how to force evil to work for good. It is one thing to oppose evil, to fight it with every ounce of strength you have. But is a stroke of genius when you can force evil to create good. And this story illustrates a perfect example of accomplishing this very difficult task.

The odious nutters from the Westboro Baptist Church, run by Fred Phelps, had flown to Boston to carry their hate signs blaming gays for every woe in the world -- they now imply that the economic downturn is caused by God punishing America for not imposing Biblical law. The church members gathered outside a showing of The Laramie Project, the play about the murder of Matthew Shepherd, a young gay man. The church regularly pickets this play.

But on the other side of the street there was a demonstration of another kind. They called it a Phelps-a-thon. Each participant in the Phelps-a-thon raised pledges from people based on each minute that the Phelps family/sect/church was demonstrating. If someone pledge $1 per minute that meant that for each 10 minutes the sect demonstrated $10 was raised for various gay rights projects.

The longer the Phelps remained in their demonstration the more funds that were raised for gay rights groups. These clever counter-protestors chanted "You're crazy. You're funny. You're raising us money." And they gave big cheers for Fred Phelps and his unintentional fund raising exercise. By the time the play had begun the Phelps-a-thon had netted well over $4,000 in funds. Around $800 of the money came as a result of play attendees seeing the counter-protest and walking over to hand money to the fund raisers.

This is one of the best examples I've ever seen of someone taking something evil, like the Phelps sect, and turning it into a force for good. The only way they could fail to raise money is if the Phelps cult stayed home. Someone needs to minitor the Phelps and their protests and organize one of these fundraisers everywhere they go.

I love it.